batteries that were about as heavy as a Blue Öyster Cult
guitar riff. In the February 2014 article, we described how
we tracked down some 24V LiPo batteries out of weed
whackers to replace the NiCd batteries that we had been
using. To get ready for RoboGames, we needed a further
upgrade; like when Genesis swapped Peter Gabriel for Phil
The weed whacker batteries were fine for testing
purposes, but they weren’t exactly combat ready. The
connectors weren’t the types that we could trust to hold
together firmly in a wartime situation. We needed
connectors that would stick together like The Rolling Stones
or ZZ Top, and not ones that would split up like Simon &
Garfunkel or KISS. There had to be a better way.
And, there was. Nowadays, you can find quality LiPo
packs at your local hobby shop. The excellent power density
has made them a staple for lightweight drones. We tracked
down a monster 22.2V LiPo pack online from Gens Ace,
and it looked like a great fit except for one thing: it had
funky connectors. The large red and black banana plug-esque connectors gave us nothing to go on except for the
cryptic designation “Amass” on the connectors. We couldn’t
for the life of us find the mates to these. We still don’t
know what “Amass” connectors are. It’s a mystery, like why
The Beatles got rid of Pete Best in favor of Ringo.
Fortunately, it all worked out because we found
something better. We outfit the battery with new Castle
connectors, which are a bright pastel green and a royal
pain to disconnect — which is exactly what we were looking
for in a combat connector.
Ground Control to Troublemaker
Even after 13 years, there was only one upgrade that
we absolutely had to make to ensure that Troublemaker
was in compliance with the RoboGames rules: the radio.
When we started competing, we were using a Futaba radio
that operated on the 75 MHz frequency which is reserved
for ground-based RC vehicles. The 75 MHz frequency only
has 30 channels, and managing channels at events was a
major hassle that involved a whiteboard, clothespins, and
numerous matches scrubbed at the last minute because of
interference issues. It was chaos, like when Ozzy Osbourne
bit the head off of a bat onstage.
Nowadays, things are much better. The technological
advancement here has been the jump to 2. 4 GHz spread
spectrum technology. Without getting too much into the
details, the new radios use a wider band of spectrum and
sophisticated signal processing to avoid interference
Twin brothers hack whatever’s put in front of them, then tell you about it.
SERVO 06.2016 55
READY FOR ROBOGAMES!
TROUBLEMAKER IS READY FOR ACTION. THE REWIRED INTERIOR.